Grassley and Durbin introduce first bipartisan H-1B, L-1 visa reform bill to protect American workers
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced “The H-1B and L-1 Visa Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act of 2007” last week to overhaul the H-1B and L-1 visa programs to give priority to American workers and crack down on unscrupulous employers who deprive qualified Americans of high-skill jobs.
Let us look at the arguments made by the Senators:
1. Currently, the H-1B visa program is criticized for failing to protect American workers.
This is far from the truth. The H1B workers are often in demand in specialty occupation where it is impossible for the companies to actually find US citizens to cover such positions especially in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics). H1B cannot be obtained on non-specialty occupations which means a person with regular administrative abilities cannot actually obtain an H1B visa.
2. Currently, so-called “job shops” hire large numbers of foreign workers on H-1B visas for short time periods to train and then outsource these workers offshore.
It seems here we are talking about outsourcing rather than H1B employees. It does really make sense why they will hire employees on H1B and train them to place them offshore. They might as well train them offshore.
3. Currently, the Department of Labor lacks sufficient oversight and investigative authority over the H-1B program.
Not really true because the Department of Labor(DOL) has a strict on the LCA (Labor Condition Application). In addition, the DOL and the USCIS have organized regular spot checks to verify the clients site where they verify the position of the employees. In fact, had USCIS and DOL focused only on the fraud cases and not ‘wasted’ time on issues such as bad RFEs (Request for Evidence), the so called problem would be solved.
4. Under current law, experts argue that employers can use the L-1 program to evade restrictions on the H-1B program because the L-1 program does not have an annual cap and does not include protections for American workers. As a result, efforts to reform the H-1B program are unlikely to be successful if the L-1 program is not reformed at the same time.
The L1 program requires that the company is transferring an employee from one company to another. The applications are usually limited because the conditions are not always met. Also L1 visas are strictly restricted both by the USCIS and the State Department therefore this argument of putting a cap on L1 visa does not only not make sense but it can actually hinder many companies from their normal operations. However, maybe the blanket visa might have to be controlled.
Based on the analysis, it is clear that “chocking” H1B and L1 visas will not actually help the US employees, it will actually push companies to open branches in other countries and operate from there. It makes us wonder what are the real motives behind the introduction of such a bill.